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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

It's only one running replica and quarter-scaled model left

To produce a car model, usually, the auto manufacturer must go through many stages, starting from a concept design development to making a decision to produce it or not. Well, at the design development stage, manufacturers usually also make several models of the car concept in several sizes ranging from small to 1: 1 for a series of tests and or also used as a promotional model to see the public interest on being worked model.
1956 Pontiac Club de Mer concept car announced to the world at the GM's Motorama Show(Picture from: https://bit.ly/3c2pbN1)
The same thing was done by the American automotive giant, General Motors who had made several famous future concept cars. They make these concept cars as a basis for producing cars in the future. Including something created based on one of their other brands, due to the manufacturer houses multiple car brands.

Pontiac Club de Mer may be one example. It was a concept car made by Pontiac for General Motors in 1956 and announced to the world at the Motorama Show at the time. This future concept car creation embodies Harley Earl's design ideas, brought up by the Pontiac design department head at the time, Paul Gillian.
The Pontiac Club de Mer page from the 1956 Motorama program. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/33nS7uY)
As quoted of Wikipedia, it was a two-door sports roadster that incorporated innovative breakthrough styling like a sleek, low-profile body encasing a large engine, a design trend used widely in LSR (land speed record) trials at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during the 1950s.

The concept car's exterior was inspired by contemporary aircraft designs at the time, using a stainless steel monocoque, individual windscreens similar to those on the 1955 Lincoln Futura (later TV's Batmobile), an aerodynamically fashioned fascia that flowed down from the hood skin to cover most of the grill, concealed headlights, and a single rear-deck dorsal fin.
1956 Pontiac Club de Mer was inspired by contemporary aircraft designs at the time(Picture from: https://bit.ly/33nS7uY)
The overall styling of the body was a smooth, non-undulating profile, similar to an American supersonic jet fighter, with virtually no protrusions or recesses of any kind save for the out-vents on the leading edge of both doors, and the fin. The vehicle had no bumpers, a common feature on most concepts, and the door handles were quite small and also had a very low profile at just under 990.6 mm (39 inches).
1956 Pontiac Club de Mer (front) at the 1956 Motorama and the Oldsmobile Golden Rocket is immediately beyond(Picture from: https://bit.ly/2FAKmJO)
The interior styling, it had a barebones functionality to it, but it is still much better than the production vehicles available in showrooms at the time. Instruments were low key, with triangularly configured gauges mounted well behind a three-spoke, GT-style steering wheel, around the steering column.

The speedometer was positioned on top, and a smaller gauge on either side, each enclosed in its own pod. The interior was finished in red, while passengers gained entry through conventional doors.

It is known that only one Club de Mer prototype (actually just a rolling model) was ever constructed and unveiled in Miami, Florida, along with another ¼-scale model. But then, the only-one prototype was destroyed as part of an unfortunate kill order by GM in 1958.

Only the ¼-scale model exists today, which was owned by Joseph Bortz of Illinois until it sold to noted car collector Ron Pratt at the 2007 Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction for $75,000. However, there is another life-sized Pontiac Club de Mer replica in mint shape and fully functional.

The running replica built by Marty Martino based on a 1959 Pontiac chassis and powered by the 1959 Strato Streak engine mated to the Jetaway Hydro-Matic 4-speed transmission. It took three years to complete and sold at auction in 2009 for $110,000. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BARRET-JACKSON | WIKIPEDIA | CARSCOOPS  | AMKLASSIEK]
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